Devotional: December 12th
Professional golf has returned for the 2004 tour. The Professional Golfers Association is in Hawaii right now playing in absolutely stunning surroundings at picture postcard venues in balmy weather. All this serves to get the itch going for guys like me who are anxious to get back on the course. Winter is a tough time for us golfers who live far enough north that the golf season ends sometime before Thanksgiving and restarts sometime around Easter. Watching the PGA on TV scratches the itch but it doesn't bring relief.
Ah, yes. To be back on the course staring down the fairway from the first tee. Peering intently to pick out a target line which will lead to my tee shot being in position "A" to give me a chance to reach the green in regulation and record a par. I can visualize myself taking my stance with my slightly strong grip on the club, playing the ball off my left heel and making that little waggle with the club just before unleashing the beast and ripping the ball through the air with my swing.
Then someone says it. Someone has to point out that this isn't the PGA and I'm not Ernie Els or Tiger Woods or Vijay Singh. Someone has to bring reality back to the game. Someone says, "I think you need to holler Fore!"
Fore. That magical word that explodes in a golfer's mind. It declares that the one who has just struck the ball has no idea whatsoever how to hit it straight. Fore means, "Watch out everybody who isn't playing this hole. You are about to be hit by an incredibly off line shot stroked by a rank amateur. Very rank." Fore!!!
I turn 54 this year. I have been playing golf for 28 years. You'd think by now I'd know how to hit it straight. When I consider that I have been a Christian for 43 years and still struggle with daily living for the Lord, errant tee shots don't really seem to have any importance. Every day I get up and start my day, my "round" if you please, I try to hit it straight. I try my best to stay in the "fair"way in which God wants me. Alas, someplace along the line I hit that errant shot. I say something or do something that hurts someone else. I disappoint someone with a reaction. I fail to call or stop at the right moment.
Fore!!! Life is like golf. We do our best at something we know we will never master. We struggle and we have those days it all goes really great. Then we wake up the next morning and it all starts again. Some simple advice for life that has been a blessing for me is found in Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus. "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:1-3
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